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June 09, 2016

More Scammers Offering Women 'Big Money Making Porn!'

CYBERSPACE—Whether it's Facebook or Craigslist or some other online site, the number of scammers claiming to be able to help young women make their fortunes by creating adult content is ever with us, as the two most recent examples indicate. Up in Seattle, TheStranger.com reports on one "Deja Stwalley," an alleged woman who sends out "friend" requests to women she finds on Facebook, and after they respond, she hits them with the claim that she's "a recruiter for indie porn studios" and that they can make anywhere from $450 per hour to as much as $3,000 per scene—and all they have to do is meet up with Stwalley's ex-boyfriend, photographer Matt Hickey, and audition. "basically I try to help girls get into the porn industry without getting screwed over," Stwalley wrote. "there are scammers out there, but that's why I DO this. lol" One of the women Stwalley "helped" was 20-year-old Liz Shearer, who was working as a nanny before being made aware of Stwalley's "service." "I decided it was an opportunity I would be interested in," Shearer told The Stranger's Sydney Brownstone. "And I asked her how I would go about getting an audition." Stwalley was only too happy to set it up with Matt, but that she would also have to have sex with him "to prove to production companies that having sex with someone I didn't know was something that I could handle." Shearer "auditioned" with Hickey in Bellingham, Wash., and again later in a Seattle hotel room, but no jobs ever came of it. Shearer filed a report with the Bellingham Police Department last month, though the officer who took her statement told her that it would be difficult to prosecute what happened as a sexual assault, though there's no doubt that that's what it was. The police later told Brownstone that detectives were working on Shearer's case. Another of Stwalley's victims, Allysia Bishop, shared her story with Seattle's feminist Facebook group, and it caught the attention of a woman known as "Maisie," who herself contacted Stwalley, posing as a potential porn actress. At that time, Stwalley claimed that among the "indie porn studios" she represented was BurningAngel—and when Brownstone contacted BurningAngel owner Joanna Angel to check out Stwalley's story, Angel responded that she'd never heard of Stwalley, and that, "For the record, we do not use any 'scouts.' We have a model application on the website, occasionally we get referrals from friends of models we work with, or we deal with licensed talent agents. We do not hire/associate with any scouts anywhere." Maisie did quite a bit of investigation into "Stwalley" and found that, among other things, the talent agency listed on the model release Stwalley was using—West Coast Talent, Inc. of Las Vegas—didn't exist, and its "headquarters" was a "decrepit former hotel"; that Stwalley's and Hickey's email addresses shared the same IP address; that Stwalley and Hickey had both sent emails to prospective porn stars from the e-dress seattle.talent@gmail.com; and that the real Deja Stwalley, who now goes by Deja Cook, had no connection with the Facebook page that bore her name, and that she went to high school with Hickey and remembered that "He had a weirdo crush on me." When Brownstone tried to contact Hickey for a comment, he told her his attorney had advised him not to speak on the subject, adding in an email, "I agree it's weird and also ridiculous, but I'm sorry to say that at this point I can't talk about anything specific, though I may in the future." The full "Deja Stwalley" story is a great read, and it can be found here. A bit farther south, four San Diego women, known for legal purposes as "Jane Does 1-4," have filed a lawsuit against the website GirlsDoPorn.com, the site's owner, Michael Pratt; the actor who did scenes with them, Andre Garcia; and their videographer, Matthew Wolfe; as well as nine related businesses. Why? According to Courthouse News reporter Don DeBenedictis, the women, who answered ads on Craigslist, "were cajoled into appearing in pornography by men who promised that the videos would never be posted on online or distributed in the United States," but that the videos were posted online anyway on GirlsDoPorn.com, "where they were seen by the women's friends and family," and that "the men leaked their true names and contact information, including email and social media addresses, to another Internet site, and strangers then harassed them as whores and sluts." "The defendants assure them that they will not post the video online, they will not distribute the video in the United States, and they will keep each woman anonymous," one paragraph of the complaint states. "The defendants represent that the videos will be on DVDs overseas and for private use." According to the women's accounts, agents for Pratt coerced the women into signing model releases which they weren't given time to read, were essentially held prisoner in hotel rooms where they were "forced to film and have sex for many hours," sometimes when cameras weren't even running, and that one of them, Jane Doe #4, was promised $2,000 in cash for her performance, but when she got the money, she found that the middle of the stack of $20 bills was all $1 bills, leaving her with only $400 total for the shoot. The women are suing for $500,000 each plus punitive damages. Their claims include "intentional and negligent misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, misappropriation of name and likeness, and breach of contract." The Does' story can be found here. When informed of the above scams, Chanel Preston, president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), stated that any performers or potential performers who are concerned that someone is trying to trick them into performing for free with the promise of more work later, or is in some other way not making a legitimate offer, should contact APAC to ascertain whether the person or company making the offer is bona fide, and also to request advice as to how to spot scammers trolling social media and elsewhere. "We are currently working on a way for performers or interested performers to gain better information about people they are talking to," Preston said, adding that she will be bringing up the topic at the next APAC Board meeting.

 
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